The best time to discuss anything
with the band in any meaningful way is at the
middle of a song when all members are singing
at the same time, such as a multi-harmony part.
Our hearing is so advanced that we can pick
out your tiny voice from the megawatt wall of
sound blasting all around us. Musicians are
expert lip readers, too. If a musician does
not reply to your question or comment during
a tune, take this personally. Singers have the
ability to sprout a second mouth to talk with
you and sing at the same time. If the singer
doesn't, it's because he is purposely ignoring
The It Factor: When an
A&R is presented with a complete body of
work from an artist. If an artist has all of
the things in place but just needs a little
push then I ask myself "Does This Artist
Really Want This"? Meaning if I lend my
energy to their movement will they burn out
or throw in the towel once they've reached their
perceived level of success?
This month begins a series
on electronic keyboards ranging from the1930's
to the present and how each keyboard's development
was tied closely to the technology of its time.
At the time of the first manufacturing of the
Hammond Model A in 1935, the only keyboard alternatives
were pianos and pipe organs. Hammond's marketing
strategy was to replace the pipe organ in churches
with a Hammond Organ at a much lower cost and
they were successful at this. Also, weighing
in at 400-500 pounds the church environment,
where it didn't have to be moved, was perfect
Jaco Pastorius is just one
example. In recent years, the fretless guitar
has been making quite a stir, especially in
the hands of monster players like Ron “Bumblefoot”
Thal. And on that note, I would like to discuss
the process of converting a fretted instrument
to fretless, and I will use a recent conversion
I did for a client, a neck through body Yamaha
TRB 6 string bass, as an example.
There is no music business
fairy anymore. There are no record deals to
be had, no advances to quit your job, no sexual
experience after the show that is going to make
you want to make music. These days, you are
an artist...that's it....you make music because
you have to make music to be a happy and fulfilled
person. People will feel that, you will make
fans, you will go viral and then you will generate
revenue. Until then enjoy speaking from your
soul to those that will come to hear it. Make
everything you do, from your posts on social
media, to the conversations you have, to the
bonding moments you share with your fellow band
mates...all count for something. Once you realize
that making music is a journey and not a destination,
every moment will be its own reward.
But things are not as simple as they might
seem for guitarists: you’re often up there
front and center stage with the singer, and
the main focus of attention for most of the
crowd. And while the singer only has to concentrate
on his or her microphone (and some attractive
posturing, of course!), there’s a whole
lot more responsibility for a six-stringer.
Guitars, amps, effects, songs, solos, amorous
fans – you’ve got to be in control
of all these factors simultaneously if you’re
to rise to the top of the pile!
Don't expect me to be some
ham-handed used car salesman up there to push
your watered-down "premium" drinks.
I will gladly tell people to get their drink
on, but I'm not running an infomercial. Demanding
that I stand onstage like David Lee Roth circa
1980 crowing about the magical properties of
whatever high-dollar cocktail you have to offer
is only going to make me less inclined to do
it. You paid me to entertain people, not sell
your booze. I know you think it's the same thing.
Turning up late. To everything.
Every. Single. Time.
Do you have some sort of disease that makes
it impossible for you turn up on time?
We even developed an elaborate system where
we tell you a time 2 hours earlier than when
we need to arrive. You’re STILL an hour
who get all the glory, we feel it’s time
to thank those whom we rely upon for the opportunity
to showcase our talent and express our creative
faculty to the local community. Because, as
everyone knows, musicians don’t really
need the money. We do it all for beer and blow
jobs. We’re artists. We have no time for
such trivialities as kids, mortgages, or car
payments. Some of the things we love are all
I've been looking for gigs
lately, I've never seen so many free and low
paying gigs. Well the economy is bad, so I can
understand that a little bit. However, it is
no longer good enough for the musician to be
willing to perform for little compensation.
Now we are expected to also be the venue promoter?
The expectations are that the band will not
only provide great music, but also bring lots
of people to their venue. It is now the band’s
responsibility to make this happen, not the
Those of us who have been around
for over 40 years know a little bit more about the
evolution of the music industry than our younger counterparts.
Remember the 45? You know back when the Jackson 5
was a group and Michael Jackson had an afro? You had
an A side and a B side. Then there was the LP and
the 8 tracks. Most of us bought singles in those days
because it was all we could afford. However, we got
the music we wanted and record labels made money.
Even when the tape recorder came out and we started
recording our favorite songs off of the radio the
industry still made money.
A band is a unique and complex relationship,
and with so many different personalities and goals
among band members, things can sometimes get tricky.
Some people are direct, some are passive, some are
more organized than others. "Musicians are sensitive
and odd creatures," says songwriter/guitarist
Paul Hansen of indie folk band The Grownup Noise.
"So inevitably, it will be a dysfunctional, but
hopefully loving, family."
Mental illness and music isn't a
subject that is often discussed, but it is one that
affects a disproportionate number of musicians. Many,
probably most of us, can think of a time that music
listening to it, playing guitar, writing and performing
songs helped us through a difficult time in our lives.
I know I can. Playing music is a way of achieving
catharsis, to deal with our emotions by expressing
them. I'm a long way from the troubled teenager I
once was, but even now, there's nothing like grabbing
an axe and rocking out to lift my mood if I get low.
These are some of the worst and most
common hoaxes because they seem so benign but they
can easily cost you a lot of money without getting
you anywhere. They tend to disguise themselves in
the form of some sort of legitimate opportunity from
a legitimate business whether it be getting your song
played on the radio, getting you a record deal, or
letting you play a showcase in front of a big time
A&R rep. The common thread though is that they
will all ask you for money to get access. With the
exception of membership-based organizations like ASCAP
or The Recording Academy, press, marketing, or radio
promotion agencies, or a qualified professional industry
consultant (determining that requires research though),
there are hardly any legitimate music businesses that
will charge you in order to get access to a career
opportunity (and honestly the aforementioned companies
aren't charging you for access, they're charging for
their services- but I didn't want to confuse anyone
into thinking they are not legitimate businesses because
they cost money).
Congratulations, your album is finally
finished and you are ready to share your masterpiece
with the world! You have already read "The Secret
to Using Social Media to Build a Massive Base"
and you are eager to implement those ideas and promote
your project. You have gathered a list of websites,
DJs, booking agents, A&R's and promoters to begin
networking. Well... on that list is a sketchy promoter,
an unethical booking agent and a commercial DJ waiting
to take your money. There are members of the music
community who prey on unsigned musicians. "The
music business is a cruel and shallow money trench,
a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run
free, and good men die like dogs. There's also a negative
side."-Hunter S. Thompson.